horse won't canter

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horsenaround:
I, too, have a problem with cantering my paso fino. He will do it nicely at first but then after a few strides he gets mixed up in his gaits and ends up with a largo and a corto and then back to cantering normally. Its as if he gets his legs tangled up or something although he can really run in the pasture without a rider. he can keep up with the nongaited breeds at the gallop. I dont know why he cant canter with a rider? anyone else know?

GHWebmaster:
horsenaround,

The horses I mentioned in the above post, cantering them for 20 years/ Paso Fino. Yours cannot canter under saddle because he has not been taught how. Teach him, take your time and WORK on the canter, not just "OH lets see if he has it right now". He can do it, never ran across one yet that could not.

Beverly

lupe:
Keep pressrure in your legs and slowly pull back on the reins till he slows down. But nmake shure he does not drop into a trot.

 :Bhorse:.

georgia:
I really don't think it has to be that complicated.  Maybe we spend too much time analyzing gaits, and too little time enjoying what our horses have to offer us.  It is no wonder our horses are confused.  We teach them not to do something...then we reverse our training strategy.

Horses canter in the pasture.  If they have always been discouraged from breaking into a canter under saddle...it will hard to convince them otherwize. I let all my gaited horses canter...and it took some work, 2 - 3 months, before they 'got it'.  

Please note...this is just to get started.  Not a long term approach...

I could never do any good teaching the canter, in the beginning, in a tight place, like an arena or on a longe line.  I need plenty of room, a good strip to break out in a gallop for a ways, and hills.

The reason is...at first they won't understand that there's a difference between a gallop and a collected canter, that will come later, once you get them used to going at faster speeds.  If you don't have enough room for a gallop...you will be just getting them up to speed, then have to slow or turn....not enough space is counter productive, for my methodology at least. Slowing down will come...once they understand that 'it's ok' to break into a canter/gallop.

At first, you have to get them fast enough, to get past any paciness.  It will be a rough ride at first, but given enough time and encouragement, they will figure it out.  My horses had a tendancy to think "I'm FREE!!"  and throw in a couple of bucks if you let them.  I like snaffles and hackamores, and use them regularly...but I don't try this in a wide open area with no emergency brakes! I always walk the grounds first,to look out for any obstacles, pot holes, rocky patches, etc. ....Accidents are always counterproductive.

The first fast ride is a rough one.  For obvious reasons, you will want to limit the wide open galloping/cantering training sessions to just a few minutes each ride.  Perhaps that's why it takes a few weeks for them to 'get it'.

In the end, it really helps to strengthen their muscles, improves all gaits incredibly.  I can get my horses to move out of a dead walk into a beautiful, slow canter now...and no one would believe they were trained by an amatuer.

I respect everyone's training strategies that post here.  This is just what I do, and it works for me.  There may be better ways.  I train in pastures and 4 wheeler trails....I have no round pen, no level race track...no stable boy.  But, I do have a longe line and friendly, willing, healthy horses.

I found Beverly's post interesting...I have read conflicting ideas about longing the gaited horse.  But perhaps, just like the notion that gaited horses 'shouldn't canter', perhaps it is myth that gaited horses 'shouldn't be longed', too.  I think it would be nice to have the horse trained to break into canter from walk or even a stand still, rather than having to move up through the gaits to get there.

The horse will get it.  Just have fun with it and give it time to develop.

twhboy:
I've managed to train my padded TWH how to have two canters. Depending on what a particular judge likes in the canter, well, we can do.  He's got a "fast" canter and a "slow" canter.

Granted, this is going on how *I* do things, which is different from person to person, but it worked WONDERFULLY for me.

When I was getting him to slow down because his canter was too fast, I simply said "easy...not so fast" and while saying that, GENTLY bumping on the reins so that he knew to slow down just a tad bit.  Granted, it took a while for him to understand the command, but once it clicked, he'd do whichever canter speed I wanted, and would stay in the canter.

I've ridden and trained many horses to canter, and I have taken each of them, with the exception of my padded horses, into a canter from a walk, running walk, and rack.  I teach them how to pick the canter up from each gait.

Of course, with the show horses, since you have to worry about their "lead," I teach them how to start cantering in the ring on a turn from a dead stop or a walk.  The turn throws them off enough so that they pick it up a little easier than in a straight area.  From the time that the horse understands he's doing it right, he'll canter from any point in the ring, and on the trail.

Georgia...you hit the nail on the head with "We teach them not to do something...then we reverse our training strategy."  Keep your training method the same for that horse.  They become confused, thinking they're doing wrong, and then they just quit.  I have my horses canter all the time...unless they're under 4.  They have to be set in their gait and then during their 4 year old winter, they learn to canter for the show ring.

There are many different ways to do things...you have to find out what's right for you and your horse.  It takes time, but once you get it, there's no turning back!!

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